SURVEY: Bigger House vs. Bigger Yard

Elegant Backyard in northern CA

Here in beautiful Contra Costa County we enjoy glorious weather most of the year. Outdoor living is becoming just as important as the indoors, according to a recent Taylor Morrison survey. Survey results found home buyers crave green space and more than half say they’d be willing to sacrifice living s/f  for a bigger yard.

The most important exterior features is distance from existing neighbors. Buyers of all ages believe breathing room is key, even beating curb appeal elements such as driveway, paint color and roofing finishes. Features such as outdoor ‘living rooms,’ retractable floor to ceiling glass walls, matching tiled flooring are helping to create today’s more outdoor-oriented homes. Interest in the great outdoors is stronger among women. The survey also shows having more yard is a consistent desire among parents and non-parents alike, as well as across generations.

So, when remodeling, you will want to keep this in mind. The next owner will appreciate it and possibly pay more for your property!

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Is Independent Living Right for Your Parents?

Baby Boomer Couple

In the article Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?, children of older parents learn the reasons why independent living is a good choice for active, healthy older adults who can get around on their own and don’t need help with activities of daily living:

“Most people living in independent living still drive, may be employed, have active lifestyles, and participate in the greater city community.

Seniors might consider independent living because they:

– Feel that maintaining their house is getting more and more difficult.

– Have shrinking social circles and are getting lonely.

– Have lost a spouse and feel that joining a community of people their own age would help them stay engaged in life and prevent loneliness.

– Want to move to be closer to their kids, but don’t want to live with them, don’t want the upkeep of a house, and do want to make new friends in their new city.”

Read more at Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Freedom Friday: How to Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities

Sunflower in the Sunshine

In the Next Avenue article, Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities, author Debbie Swanson suggests that “adding to your skills can help you make money and friends.”:

“If being in a classroom brings back memories of snoozing in a lecture hall, think again. The world of learning has exploded, with online and in-person classes available for many recreational pursuits. Several hobbies have measured levels of skill and proficiency: the martial arts belt system, certifications in scuba diving, achieving a master level in a pursuit such as gardening, beekeeping or — if you live in Wisconsin — cheesemaking. Adding formal training to your hobbies is not only fun, but may create avenues for side income, enhance your volunteer potential or expand your social circle.”

Here’s how one retiree in South Carolina honed his hobby skills into a new business:

“After retiring at 67 from his career managing textile and equipment manufacturing companies, Buddy May, of Greenville, S.C., delved into his interest in beekeeping. He became a Master Beekeeper with the South Carolina Beekeepers Association, as well as the only EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) Certified Master Beekeeper in his home state. In 2017, May reached the Master Craftsman level, the highest level of the South Carolina program.

May’s farm produces honey, pollen and blueberries, and he’s active with a weekly farmers’ market. But May is especially stung by the chance to meet people and share his knowledge.

‘I lecture locally, and in other states,’ says May, who has also taught classes at Furman University’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program. ‘It keeps my mind active, and learning more about the gracious insect.’

He’s also been published; May’s buzzy research appeared in the American Bee Journal in 2017 and he has an article coming out in Bee Culture magazine.”

Read more at Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Moving Aging Parents Into Your Home

In the Consumer Reports article Moving aging parents into your home, adult children will find advice on how to handle renovations, taxes, and dealing with your sibs:

“As our parents get older, many of us consider letting them move in with us. But the financial ramifications–including remodeling costs, reduced income, and the tax consequences–are often greater than people anticipate, says Bradley Frigon, an estate-planning attorney in Englewood, Colo. Here are some factors to consider before you extend an invitation:

Home-remodeling needs

If your house or apartment is too small to accommodate a parent, one option is to add space. But the cost can be substantial: A master-suite addition costs $111,245 on average, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report. Even if a major renovation isn’t required, you might need to make changes. For example, doorways should be 36 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Widening them can cost $500 to $5,000, depending on construction needs, says Bill Owens, a builder in Columbus, Ohio, who is a certified aging-in-place specialist, a designation given by the National Association of Home Builders. Or you can install swing-clear hinges, which allow doors to open entirely out of the door frame. Each hinge costs about $20 to $100.

An occupational therapist can assess the way your parent does everyday tasks to recommend renovations that will increase his or her safety. Projects might include additional lighting and adding grab bars. Ask your physician for a referral to an occupational therapist in your area. The average hourly wage is about $38, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Smart adaptions will help an elderly parent live safely in your home, and allow you to remain there as you get older.

Possible reductions in income

If your parent is still healthy, she can help around the house and contribute financially. But if she needs daily assistance and you decide to provide the care yourself, that usually requires taking time from work. For female caregivers 50 and older, the average amount of lost income, Social Security, and pension payments totals about $324,000, according to a 2011 MetLife study. For male caregivers 50 and older, the loss is $284,000.

A home health aide can provide such services as cooking, cleaning, reminding your parent to take medications, and taking him to appointments. They make a median of $20 per hour, according to the 2014 Genworth Cost of Care survey. Your local Area Agency on Aging office can help you find an aide, in-home skilled nursing care, and more.”

Read the rest at Moving aging parents into your home.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Moving to Assisted Living – Your Packing Checklist

Senior Couple with Moving Box

In the article Moving to Assisted Living: Your Packing Checklist, author Paula Spencer Scott provides advice on what to pack when moving to assisted living:

“What to bring? What to leave behind? If you’re moving your parents into assisted living, keep in mind that they’ll still use most of the same sorts of things they’re using now. But it’s important to remember that space is usually limited, so think smaller-scale with fewer items, senior relocation experts say. Focus on what will be used every day, as storage space is limited.”

Here are some ideas:

Furniture

– Bed (rent a comfortable hospital bed, or bring a bed with a familiar mattress)
– Nightstand (ideally with drawers and shelves)
– Seating (small sofa, chairs with arms, rocker; avoid chairs on casters)
– Small table(s) with storage, such as shelves or drawers
– Small kitchen table or drop-leaf table (a standard dining table is usually too big)
– Dresser (second dresser for storage may fit in closet for extra storage; drawers are often easier than hanging everything)

Housewares

– Microwave
– Mini fridge
– Dishes and glasses to use every day (but probably not settings for 10 or 12)
– Pots and pans (large and small pots and frying pans may be sufficient)
– Coffeemaker
– Hot pot
– Mixer
– Nice serving dish (if your loved one likes to cook, there will be entertaining and social opportunities)
– Bedding (two sets sheets, blankets, pillows, comforter — easier than a separate decorative bedspread)
– Bath towels
– Hangers
– Trash can(s)”

Read the rest of the list at Moving to Assisted Living: Your Packing Checklist.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Freedom Friday: Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities

Sunflower in the Sunshine

In the Next Avenue article, Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities, author Debbie Swanson suggests that “adding to your skills can help you make money and friends.”:

“If being in a classroom brings back memories of snoozing in a lecture hall, think again. The world of learning has exploded, with online and in-person classes available for many recreational pursuits. Several hobbies have measured levels of skill and proficiency: the martial arts belt system, certifications in scuba diving, achieving a master level in a pursuit such as gardening, beekeeping or — if you live in Wisconsin — cheesemaking. Adding formal training to your hobbies is not only fun, but may create avenues for side income, enhance your volunteer potential or expand your social circle.”

Here’s how one retiree in South Carolina honed his hobby skills into a new business:

“After retiring at 67 from his career managing textile and equipment manufacturing companies, Buddy May, of Greenville, S.C., delved into his interest in beekeeping. He became a Master Beekeeper with the South Carolina Beekeepers Association, as well as the only EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) Certified Master Beekeeper in his home state. In 2017, May reached the Master Craftsman level, the highest level of the South Carolina program.

May’s farm produces honey, pollen and blueberries, and he’s active with a weekly farmers’ market. But May is especially stung by the chance to meet people and share his knowledge.

‘I lecture locally, and in other states,’ says May, who has also taught classes at Furman University’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program. ‘It keeps my mind active, and learning more about the gracious insect.’

He’s also been published; May’s buzzy research appeared in the American Bee Journal in 2017 and he has an article coming out in Bee Culture magazine.”

Read more at Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help

In the Forbes article Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help, author Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, BSN, PHN reports that, “Pride, fear, unwillingness to accept the realities of aging, and extreme discomfort with change are some of the reasons aging parents refuse help when they really need it.”

What can adult children do to convince their parents to accept help? Here are some ideas:

If feasible, we always encourage a family meeting, including not only adult children, but caring others as well. A best friend may hold more sway in convincing a stubborn parent to think about safety than “the kids.” (What do they know anyway?) Clergy, or someone the aging parent looks up to and respects, can be invaluable in persuading a change of heart.

A doctor’s input can be quite helpful. Our elders may trust and believe their doctors and take their direction seriously. We encourage asking the doctor to see the aging parent and to strongly advise a move or other step the parent can take to reduce the risk of living alone.

As responsible adult children, we can check out suitable alternative living situations in advance and ask the aging parent to visit with us. ‘Just have lunch and see the place’ is a first step. Most such facilities will gladly serve you lunch and show you around, introducing an aging parent to other residents.

Marketing directors at assisted living facilities can be useful in helping an aging parent with the often difficult transition. However, beware of the sales pitch. They want to match the facility to the prospect, but there can be tremendous pressure on them to fill empty apartments. It is important to understand the legal limits of assisted living. Know them if you are considering it as an option for your parent.”

Read more at Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Freedom Friday: How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama

Baby Boomer Couple in Retirement

In the U.S. News & World Report article, How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama, author Maryalene LaPonsie writes that worlds collide when senior couples retire and are suddenly together 24/7:

“You’ve clocked out of work for the final time and are heading home to your spouse. The kids have left the nest, which means it will be just the two of you. Sounds like the beginning of a second honeymoon, right?

However, the reality can be much different. A 2017 report from the Pew Research Center found gray divorce – that is, divorce after age 50 – increased 109 percent from 1990 to 2015. Even couples who stay together may find their remaining years marked by conflict.”

Fortunately, spousal conflict after retirement is not a given. Couples can head off trouble by being proactive and open-minded about their next stage of life.

Start the discussion early. Spouses can become resentful if they have plans for retirement that don’t align with those of their husband or wife. Clear communication is essential to creating realistic expectations about what life will be like post-work. Unfortunately, many couples wait too long to have these talks.

Have a purpose for retirement. Exploring new interests before retirement can help couples determine the goals or pursuits they will have after leaving the workforce. Jared Snider, senior wealth advisor at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City, says his most successful retired couples have clearly defined purposes for both themselves and their relationship. ‘They have thought it out ahead of time,’ he says.

Have a budget for retirement. Money issues can be the cause of significant strife in some marriages. ‘You’ll have one spouse that lives for the moment, and the other that doesn’t want to throw a nickel around,’ says Chris Heerlein, investment advisor representative and partner at REAP Financial in Austin, Texas.”

Read more tips at How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Benefits of Living Smaller

Senior Couple with Moving Box

In the article Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers, author Jeff LaBombard offers advice on some of the recent housing trends as well as general guidelines for beginning the downsizing process:

“Some retirees still opt for Senior Living Communities or smaller spaces like apartments and condos. No matter what form downsizing takes, there are some key points to consider. Jeff Reeves outlined these points in an article for USA Today. He encourages the following:

Consider the taxes. Income and property taxes vary widely depending on where you live. Do some research before moving. For those on a budget, it is wise to choose an area with lower tax rates.

Public Transportation. Is there housing available in an area that also provides public transportation? This can eliminate the need for multiple – or even any – car payments and maintenance services.

Health Care. It is important to choose an area that offers access to doctors and other health services within the network of your insurance.

Overhead. When choosing a smaller place to live, consider the overhead. While this new place mows the grass and shovels the snow for you, is the cost of those services budget friendly?

Look Beyond the Price Tag. While cost is a major factor for those on a reduced or limited income, it’s not the only factor. It is important to maintain social and community ties – be it friends and family, familiar stores, or a regular doctor.

Check With A Local Realtor. One of the road blocks today is the housing market itself. The Baby Boomer generation matured in a time when building equity in a home came easily and they “traded-up” from their starter homes to something bigger and better. However, the current housing market might not be in their favor if they choose to sell. Forbes.com reports that the Gen-Xers are not ‘trading up’ like their predecessors. Changes to the financial landscape created a plateau in their careers, forcing them to shoulder the brunt of the recent economic downturn. They are working to maintain what they have, not invest in something bigger. As for the Millennials, home ownership in general a possibility, but not a probability. Burdened with school loan debt and a poor job market, they don’t want or can’t afford home ownership. This ripple effect through the generations can have a direct impact on Seniors and Baby Boomers as they hope to sell their large home for top dollar while searching for an affordable smaller home.”

Read more at Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Freedom Friday: 16 Tips to Keep You Free from Colds and Flu

Flu Season Title Appearing on Mobile Tablet

The cold and flu season is upon us again. Unfortunately, seniors and caregivers are two of the most likely groups of people to get sick.

Here are some tips to help you stay clear of colds and flu, according to the article, 16 Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers:

Get the flu vaccine. Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu. It also reduces the severity of the illness and protects against complications – both especially important for seniors. And when you get a flu shot, you reduce the risk that you’ll get sick and infect your older adult. The best time to get a flu shot is from October through November, but it’s still useful to get one even if it’s later in the flu season.

Wash or sanitize hands thoroughly and often. Frequently washing hands with regular soap is an effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. Plain soap is fine because rubbing the hands together for at least 20 seconds is what eliminates germs – long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Make sure to clean under the nails, backs of hands, between fingers, and wrists. If you can’t get to soap and water often enough, use hand sanitizer to kill cold and flu germs. This may be a good option for older adults who can’t easily get up to wash their hands.

Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise boosts the immune system and could reduce risk of a cold by a third. Even though caregiving doesn’t leave a lot of time for exercise and older adults may not have a lot of endurance, any amount of regular exercise will still benefit the body and immune system.

Sanitize your mobile devices. Something that many people forget is how dirty and germ-filled their mobile device is. Clean it regularly with sanitizing wipes or rubbing alcohol – being careful not to wet the electronics.

Avoid crowds and unnecessary travel. Try to avoid being in large groups of people, especially in poorly-ventilated spaces. That increases the chance of catching a cold or flu from an infected person.”

Read more tips at 16 Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582